UIAA Mountain Skills Training in Indonesia
by Alan Ward

Alan Ward is an International Mountain Leader and Mountain Training Instructor based in Cardiff,
with an additional role based in Indonesia as an ISO/HSE Technical Adviser for offshore pipe-laying projects.

In January 2019 I was working in Indonesia but as there was no requirement for me to work at weekends, I linked up with members of the Indonesian Mountain Guides Association to offer them some internationally accredited training. The UIAA (Union of International Alpine Associations) gave me approval to run a pilot Mountain Skills course which I was happy to do.

The UIAA Mountain Skills course is similar to the Mountain Skills course offered by Mountain Training in the UK, a course I offer on a regular basis in the UK. The syllabus includes:

·         Planning - How to successfully plan a walk in the mountains in the UK or Ireland.

·         Walking skills - What things should you consider while out walking and what can make life easier (pace, nutrition, movement skills, steep ground etc.)

·         Clothing and equipment - Being suitably dressed and equipped can make the difference between a great day out and a complete disaster.

·         Weather - How it affects the mountains and your day out.

·         Navigation in the mountains - Everything from selecting a compass and using a map to navigation in poor visibility and an intro to GPS.

·         Environmental knowledge - How to minimise your impact on the hill, information on good practice and useful organisations.

·         Hazards and emergency procedures in the mountains - How to respond to any hazards you encounter and what to do in an emergency.

The UIAA Mountain Skills was hosted in the Pangalengan Highlands of Central Java using the Malabar Tea Plantation (1,450m) as our weekend base. This course was for five members of the Indonesian Mountain Guides Association, employed by CLIMB INDONESIA, who work across Indonesia.

One of the main tea estates in the area, the Malabar Tea Estate, was for many years (1886–1928) managed by K.A.R. Bosscha who was active in the development of the region.

The five mountain guides and I met for a working breakfast on the Saturday to finalise our plans for the course. By 8am we left the plantation house for a six-hour training walk intended to cover all aspects of the syllabus.

The whole of Indonesia is covered by excellent maps with a 1:25,000 scale, just as we use in the UK. Navigation using maps for the guides was a new and interesting experience for the mountain guides who generally simply use established trails on key routes. The Indonesian maps show in great details where paths and other routes are, so they were challenged in navigating through the tea plantation to find objectives I set for them.

Navigation through the paths and trails of the Pangalengan Highlands.

My lunch consisted of fried chicken and rice topped with peanut sauce and mixed vegetables

Continuing onwards we reached the summit of Gunung Nini (1,616m), our intended lunch stop, where before long the mountain guides were hard at it preparing a delicious cooked lunch.

During lunch we discussed other elements of the syllabus including hygiene, food preparation and of course, environmental topics such as “Leave no Trace”! After lunch it was an introduction to mountain navigation using compasses and the mountain guides really did well at this – I’m not sure they’d ever used compasses before.

Heavy rain fell during the afternoon walk back to the plantation house and I was glad I’d brought my Elite Jacket and Overtrousers with me. These are great waterproofs which I can highly recommend.

Back at our accommodation we enjoyed tea and cakes and then a break before dinner. After dinner I gave a presentation “Himalayan Encounters” of my various travels through the Himalayas which they all enjoyed.

On Sunday morning it was time for a half day First Aid course which included High Altitude First Aid and how to use Portable Altitude Chambers (PAC).

I’m pleased to say that everyone completed the UIAA Mountain Skills course to a very high standard – we returned to Jakarta later in the afternoon.

During 2019, a wide range of similar training is available with me in the UK and this includes:

·         MOUNTAIN TRAINING - Hill Skills – Mountain Skills – Lowland Leader Award – Hill & Moorland Leader Award

·         NATIONAL NAVIGATION AWARD SCHEME - Bronze Award – Silver Award – Gold Award – Tutor Award

·         ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY - Off Site Safety Management

·         RESCUE EMERGENCY CARE - Travel & Expedition First Aid – High Altitude First Aid

Special thanks for Alan Ward for sharing this feature. More information on Alan’s bespoke treks, expeditions and training can be found at Big Foot Services.